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Reader Review of Nook Handheld Digital Electronic eBook Device

Updated on June 25, 2011

When Barnes and Noble first released their new electronic ebook reader, The NOOK, there was a lot of disappointment. Pretty much everyone agreed they had rushed the digital device out to compete with Amazon’s Kindle before it was ready.

However, at the time I wasn’t ready—to make the plunge to eBooks that is.

But in the matter of a few short months that changed and I trotted into my local Barnes and Noble, took advantage of the $50 gift card promotion they had going and purchased my first electronic book reader.

And I have to say, I am thrilled with my purchase.

· Fits in Your Bag - The Nook, like most of the handheld eReaders on the market today, is small. It measures 4.9 inches in width, 7.7 in height and has a depth of only .5 inch. It is also light, approximately 12 ounces depending on which version you choose.

· Reads Like Paper - Unlike some of the Nook’s competitors, this digital reader uses E ink technology. What that means to you is that it reads like a printed page—and it really does! There is none of the eye strain you get when reading on a computer. It also, however, means there is no backlight. This means you can’t read it in the dark without a book light or some other source of light.

· Easy Navigation - For navigation, the Nook has a color touchscreen LCD which takes up about the bottom fourth of the device. I’ve found this really easy to use. You can swipe your finger over it like turning a page to move through book choices or when navigating from the web browser to your library. It also switches to a keyboard that you can use to order books, take notes, search your library or to check your email.

The Nook, digital book reading device

Barnes and Noble had made major improvements to their ebook reader since it first appeared on the market.
Barnes and Noble had made major improvements to their ebook reader since it first appeared on the market.

· Read eBooks and other documents - For eBook formats the Nook will read EPUB, PDB and PDF files. EPUB are the files libraries are using. So, with your Nook you will be able to borrow books from the library without putting the books through any conversion software. Most free books online are also offered in EPUB or PDF format. And if you want to read something you produced yourself, it is simple through Microsoft Word to save any file to a PDF which you can than move to your Nook for reading.

· Display Your Photos - For graphics, Nook can display JPG, GIF, PNG and BMP. With these files you can create a portable photo gallery and personal screen savers.

· Listen to Music - For Audio (yes you can listen to music on your Nook), MP3.

· Browse the Web - As I mentioned earlier, there are now two versions of the Nook—one with Wi-Fi and one without. I have the Wi-Fi version. What I love about it is that I actually can check my email, post to Twitter or surf the Internet with the Nook’s Web browser. Is it a tad cumbersome? Yes, but it isn’t so cumbersome I don’t use it. To use the Web browser from home you will need to visit “settings” and enter the necessary information from your own wireless. The Nook also has free access from AT&T in a number of areas and at any Barnes and Noble store it will automatically log on for you.

· Instant Download of Books from - Amazon has been running ads lately touting the instant purchase ability of the Kindle. The Nook offers this also. There is a “shop” button on the touchscreen that takes you directly to Barnes and Noble’s eBook store. You can access it most places with the standard 3G service or you can log on with Wi-Fi. The books will automatically appear on your Nook in seconds. You do have to keep either a gift card or credit card on record with Barnes and Noble to do this. You can also go to Barnes and Noble with your computer, download the books to it and then at some later date move them to your Nook.

· Upgrade for More Storage - The Nook, unlike some other digital reading devices, is also expandable. Standard it holds 2 GB of data, approximately 1,500 eBooks, but it also has an expandable microSD slot. So, if you go insane downloading books you can increase the storage on your Nook—for an extra fee.

· Turn the Page - When reading a book, the Nook also gives you options. To turn the pages you can either skim your finger over the touchpad...simulating actually turning the page...or click one of four buttons on the side of the reading screen. I’ve found I prefer the buttons, but it is nice to have the choice.

· Loan and Borrow Books - Barnes and Noble has also thought about one objection I’ve had against eBooks in general—the inability to loan a book to a friend. To address this, they have what they call “lend me” books. If you have purchased a “lend me” book you can loan it to a friend (designated in your account at Barnes and Noble) for two weeks. During that time it disappears from your Nook and appears on your friends. At the end of the two weeks the process reverses. This is a great feature, but be aware not all books are “lendable.” Barnes and Noble does offer a list of these books though. So, if it is really important to you, you can shop with that in mind.

· Games – the Nook comes with Sudoku and Chess. I haven’t tried Chess, but the Sudoku game works well and is a lot more fun for me than playing on paper.

· Free Fridays– I admit, I love this feature. Every Friday under “the daily” you’ll find a blog post titled “Free Fridays.” There you will find one eBook that Barnes and Noble is giving its Nook customers free. You won’t want every book, but it is fun to see what they are offering. And these are current, or recent at least, releases, not books in public domain. The do have have a huge selection of public domain offerings too though.

· Read for Free – Barnes and Noble has another deal for Nook owners who like to visit their stores. You can read any eBook that Barnes and Noble sells for up to one hour each day for free. I tried this out at a recent store visit. It was as easy as navigating to the book I wanted to read through the “shop” icon on my Nook.

· Newspapers and Magazines – Honestly, none of the newspapers or magazines that you can subscribe to through the Nook interest me, but the option is there.

· Built in Dictionary – Also not something I’ve used, but it is there.

· Notes – Not a feature I’ve needed, but it is available.

· Adjustable Text Size – Available and easy to do. Just go to “Settings.”

· Getting Books onto the Device – There are two ways to get books onto your Nook eReader. The first I’ve already discussed—direct download from Barnes and Noble. The second is a simple drag and drop. The Nook comes with a USB cable that is used both for transferring date and for charging. Simply hook your Nook device to your computer, open the view files area of your computer and you can drag anything from your computer directly to the Nook. The only thing to remember is that there are two storage areas for ebooks on the Nook—one for books purchased from Barnes and Noble (My B&N Library) and one for other books (My Documents). If you drag books to the My B&N Library area they won’t appear on your Nook. Just hook the eReader back up and drag them to the proper area/My Documents.

· What the Nook Comes With – Not much. This would be one of my criticisms of the Nook, although I don’t know that the other eReaders come with much more. For your $150 to $200 you get the Nook, the USB cord and a wall plug in. That is it—no cover. My next criticism is that if you want to buy a cover, they are, in my opinion, majorly overpriced for what they are. I suspect, however, that there is some smart entrepreneur selling alternatives on the Web or there will be soon.

So, overall I am very happy with the NOOK. This doesn’t mean it is better than the alternatives. I have a number of friends who own and love their Amazon Kindles. My suggestion is that you research all of the electronic reading devices currently on the market and make the selection that best fits with your needs.

Good luck and good reading!

On the Kindle: (dated a bit, but still a decent overview)

Books to Read the Old Fashioned Way


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    • Lori Devoti profile image

      Lori Devoti 7 years ago from Wisconsin

      Of course not! Thanks! :)

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 7 years ago from East Coast, United States

      Lori - reading this hub has come in so handy! I am trying to learn about digital readers. Being an avid reader myself. The lending policy of the Nook is very cool! (Hope you don't mind me linking to this one)


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